The burgeoning boom in shale energy production in the United States is bad news for global petroleum giant Saudi Arabia, reports Gal Luft in Foreign Policy.

Luft: "Current trends in the global energy market don't look good for Saudi Arabia.

"First, the International Energy Agency projected in November 2012 that the United States will surpass the Gulf petrogiant as the world's top energy producer by 2020.

"Then, last week, it revealed that North America, buoyed by the rapid development of its unconventional oil industry, is set to dominate global oil production over the next five years.

"These unforeseen developments not only represent a blow to Saudi Arabia's prestige but also a potential threat to the country's long term economic well-being -- particularly in the post-Arab Spring era of elevated per-capita government spending.

"But if the kingdom's outlook is decidedly bleak, its official response has been muddled."

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